The Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has defended her now infamous ‘selfie’ with Barack Obama and David Cameron, claiming the snap that sparked debate across the world was just a “bit of fun”.
Despite being widely castigated for taking a picture of herself with the leaders of the US and Britain at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg this week, Thorning-Shmidt told the Danish daily Berlingske that the picture had not been inappropriate.
“There were lots of pictures taken that day, and I just thought it was a bit of fun,” she said. “Maybe it also shows that when we meet heads of state and government, we too are just people who have fun.”
The Dane, who is married to the son of former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and has been Prime Minister since 2011, added: “There was a sadness, but it was basically a festive event that also celebrated a man who has lived for 95 years and achieved so much in his life.
“There was dancing on the stands. … And then we took a really fun selfie.”
Earlier this week, Mr Cameron defended posing for the picture in the Commons on Wednesday. “In my defence, I would say that Nelson Mandela played an extraordinary role in his life and in his death in bringing people together,” he said. “So of course when a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say ‘yes’.”
The White House is yet to comment.